February 13, 2009
GPS Orbital Decay. Aerospace Corporation
The February 10 collision of an active Iridium satellite and a defunct Russian military communications satellite underlines a concern raised recently at the International Committee on GNSS (ICG) about the need to include coordination of space vehicle (SV) operations.
In comments during a session of Working Group A (compatibility and interoperability) during the ICG’s recent meeting in Pasadena, California, Professor Grigory Stupak of the Russian Institute for Space Device Engineering (RISDE), noted that Russia’s “position is that compatibility includes more than just signals,” among other things, “the sharing of orbits and disposal of satellites.”
Similar concerns have been expressed in recent years by organizations that have studied the possibility of GNSS satellites, particularly those that have been “parked” in disposal or graveyard orbits, to drift and possibly collide with one another.
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